Number 365. Petersburg Campaign Reports of Brigadier General William H. Wallace, C. S. Army, commanding Elliott’s brigade, of operations October 27 and November 5

   

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in Part 1 (Serial Number 87)

No. 365. Reports of Brigadier General William H. Wallace, C. S. Army, commanding Elliott’s brigade, of operations October 27 and November 5.1

HEADQUARTERS ELLIOTT’S BRIGADE,
October 28, 1864.

CAPTAIN: About 10 o’clock last night the enemy, under cover of intense darkness and rain, assaulted and carried about 200 yards of the picket-line to the right of the Rives salient, occupied at the time by pickets from the Holcombe Legion. I immediately organized a detachment of 200 men from the Holcome Legion and Eighteenth Regiment South Carolina Volunteers, with a proper number of officers, the whole under command of Captain Brown, of the Holcombe Legion, and sent them out to retake the line. They cautiously approached the line to within twenty or thirty yards and then charged, carrying the works easily, capturing 14 prisoners, with their arms and accouterments, and a small lot of intrenching tools. The precise loss of the enemy is not known. Some of their dead was observed this morning lying between the lines, among them a commissioned officer. Our loss was 1 killed, 2 seriously wounded, 9 slightly wounded, and 8 captured. Some of the slightly wounded are still upon duty. The men and officers of the detachment behaved very well. It was ascertained from prisoners that the assaulting party of the enemy was composed of detachments from various regiments, some of them being from Meagher’s Irish brigade. The party had been organized during the afternoon for the purpose of carrying the line. When the line was retaken it was discovered that the enemy had been at work upon it fitting it for their permanent occupation.

I am, captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

W. H. WALLACE,
Brigadier-General.

Captain FOOTE,
Assistant Adjutant-General.

HEADQUARTERS ELLIOTT’S BRIGADE,
November 6, 1864.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report that in pursuance of orders from division headquarters I last night organized a detachment to carry the picket-line of the enemy in front of the Crater. The detachment, consisting of 200 men from the Holcombe Legion (infantry), were formed in our picket-line in front of the Crater and advanced over the parapet. They quietly advanced to within a short distance of the enemy’s line, when they received a fire from the enemy’s pickets, and charged and carried the enemy’s line in their front, driving the enemy some distance along the trench to the right and left. The counterscarp of the enemy’s line had been removed, so that in the event of its occupation by us it would afford no protection to our men from a fire from the enemy’s second line. Our men were therefore withdrawn and established in front of the parapet of the work they had carried. A party of sixty men was immediately supplied with intrenching tools and put to work to cover the men from the fire of the enemy. The enemy in the meantime opened a rapid and continuous fire on our front and right

flank. The men were protected in a measure from the fire from the front, but the fire from the right flank from the enemy’s picket-line, re-enforced to a distance equal to the range of their rifles, was annoying. The working party of sixty men diligently worked to protect the right flank from this fire, but the conformation of the ground and the direction of the enemy’s line was such that it was not possible to do it under the circumstances, and this fire continuing to increase in rapidity and destructiveness the detachment finally withdrew to our line. An officer captured from the enemy informed me that an attack upon that part of their line in front of the Crater was anticipated, and preparations were made to meet it. An adjutant and nine enlisted men were captured from the enemy.

The men and officers of the detachment behaved very well, and failed of entire success from untoward circumstances that will sometimes intervene to mar the best laid military plans and snatch victory from the grasp of those who deserve it.

I forwarded a list of casualties to your office this morning.*

I am, captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

W. H. WALLACE,
Brigadier-General, Commanding.

Captain FOOTE,
Assistant Adjutant-General.

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* Nominal list (omitted) shows 14 killed, 41 wounded, 6 captured, 34 missing; total, 95.

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Source:

  1. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Volume XLII, Part 1 (Serial Number 87), pages 933-934

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